October 31, 2012
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
October 31, 2012 at 12:29 pm
Good Evening Madam,
You are seriously out of line. Hostility? Bile? Au contraire, not when you consider how IF this ST write up went all together unchallenged – it would undoubtedly have started an El Derado stampede of false hopes along with shattered dreams in the unassuming public.
After all madam does the ST regularly market themselves as the “purveyors” of the truth? – even perhaps the gold standard of journalism?
As for us Bloggers (well some of us, at least). We have every right to forward our opinions on our objects of interest – just as maybe farmers have an elemental right to call a spade a spade.
The common man after all has a right to the truth! And this should prompt us all to ask: what happens when only one dimension of the truth is forwarded? What happens when we can only see one side of the coin and the other side remains a mystery? Many people, especially the middle class are going through the fog of pain and uncertainty with the worsening economy – many will be displaced – taxiing will feature in their list of options. To make an informed decision these folk have a RIGHT to the truth.
Do you understand woman the importance of the truth and how even that idea that can make an unbearable life bearable?Perhaps I am a businessman – that simply means as a matter of natural conduct, I am always trying to visualize how events will impact taxi driver Ah Kau, Muthu and Abdul – I always tip the driver. Because I know the vast majority of taxi drivers probably just make enough to turn the wheel of life. That’s reality. And reality edifies and nourishes our consciousness. Now we all know life is not easy for Uncle. But tell madam, what do you think most will do when they suddenly wake up one morning and read about the mythical 7K taxi driver. Result: everyone thinks they are filthy rich, they get tekan and some more no tip lagi. Result: matilah. To put it another way this sort of ST write up does a disservice to all the brave taxi drivers out there who are turning the wheel of life just to put bread on the table for their loved ones.
Tell me is this what you really want madam? Tell me how will that serve the greater glory of doing good?
May I remind you madam, that I consider what was written in the ST concerning the 7K taxi driver factually inaccurate, lackadaisical and irresponsible by any measure of standard that one may choose to term journalism.
All I did was evaluate the host of possibilities which I concluded to be a mathematic impossibility i.e 7K a month as a taxi driver is not unsustainable. Other bloggers who may perhaps qualify as subject matter experts such as this gentlemen who happens to turn the wheel of life as a taxi driver seem to recount the same sentiments concerning the not so glittering life of the taxi driver.
As you can very well see for yourself Madam. You seem to be standing alone this evening. I do hope a taxi comes along soon.
Extract of a thread captured in District 19 Singapore blogoland by the signal vessel KDD Tempest – Interspacing Mercantile Guild.
October 30, 2012
“Yes, you all heard me loud and clear. The ST regularly forwards propaganda and very little else. Now if they are not happy. I am sure they can always ask their legal department to look into this matter. And maybe we will just let the courts decide whether I am right or them – but I have to stand by what I said.
As you can only believe the ST is an independent and objective source of news, IF it is not enmeshed with the interest of the party political hegemony in Singapore. What is often elided in this narrative between party political hegemony and the apparatus of mass assimilation is how the latter is premised solely on the idea of perpetuating the status quo ante – this it tries to do so by confecting the idea that the press is somehow a nation building platform. But that in itself also implies that such a entity would have every right to embellish, selectively report and to present facts in such a way where it ALWAYS favors the ruling party.
I think when we talk about Propaganda. We need to recognize this is a solvent that is extremely corrosive. It also happens to be very insidious. That is why when people ask me why I don’t read the Strait Times – I just tell them that just as I don’t regularly consume small doses of Potassium Cyanide. I make it a point to desist reading the ST as I value my brain above all else – you all need to understand. My brain is a temple of sorts. Once I can’t trust it 100%. Then I might as well pack up the whole show and my fear is that if I keep on consuming a diet of propaganda without really bothering to interogate it further. Then at some point this may even impair my ability to string an accurate judgement of events along with how I should stand concerning the objects that I regularly take an interest in. That if you must know is how propaganda works – it’s really like finger nails growing or a slow debilitating illness that chips away at your well being - you don’t realize it’s too long till it begins to catch and trip you up. Wonder no more why increasingly we are beginning to see a new generation of political and business leaders who seem to use all the right words to say very little except what has already been said once upon a time. These people have nothing original, worthy or even imaginative to forward/ All they are really doing to repeating what was once said somewhere - it’s really a very slow and gradual process like slow acting poison. And it’s something that I am always mindful of.
Neither do I believe that journalist are necessarily evil people either. I think what must be factored into this whole equation of understanding a nation building press is that it comes along with many set pieces and rationales that actually feed into the whole idea of purpose, goals and roles for anyone who works in such an organization – what one needs to appreciate is it’s a slow process of chelating, where the individual first joins an organization with a set of preconceived ideas. But as time goes by, those ideas can only morph and assume a form where even propaganda it’self is seen as social acceptable and normal – but my point is this sort of transition is an acquired taste. The fact that journalist who work in such an organization may well be palpably socially adept, emotionally balanced and even have the same set of goals as you and me is not in question.
What is in question is how such a rationale of running the day to day operations of a nation building is often seen these days as so normal that there are actually some people out there who would like every blogger in blogoland to assume this model of delivering news – and that is a very big problem.
A very big problem indeed.
Captured recently somewhere in the corridors of the Imperium just off Liberation Square in the capital city of the Brotherhood, Primus Aldentes Prime, intercepted by Minerva class deep space Star cruiser KDD Alabama, KDD San Francisco and signal vessel KDD Rizal, somewhere in the Bilbao Azimuth Phi System just off the Carphatian Asteroid Belt. Please note the Brotherhood is currently on FULL MEASURED RESPONSE mode - ultra silent, no electronic signature mode – The Interspacing Mercantile Guild.
Dotty: Tell me, if you don’t read the ST. Then how do you stay connected to local events and happenings?
Darkness: Missy Dotty, I have absolutely no problems with staying connected to local events and happenings. Absolutely no problem at all……Do you want me to show you?
Dotty: Yes, I would like that very much Darkness.
October 29, 2012
As we can see the issue is not whether this is possible. Because there always exist exceptions in every vocation. The reak question is, at what cost does it come to health and spiritual well being – I mean, if you’re stuck in a steel cage for 14 hours – then what sort of stresses are you imposing on your body? What’s the point of earning $7,000 only to rack up twice or three times that figure to fix your back along with having to buy really expensive medication. Then if you happen to be a professional man. In what way will this allow you to build on your knowledge base? And this is jugular, if you want to sell yourself as a professional man. Because you can’t possibly market your skills, if they are corroding away as you drive a taxi year after year – so thats the otherside of the story that remains unexplored. And while we are here, maybe we should even go on to ask, is it even safe for a taxi driver to chalk up so many hours behind the wheel? I mean this may seem like an off beat issue – but, if there exist rules for pilots and workers in general to work let’s say X number of hours and no more – then why isn’t the same standard applied to taxi drivers?
October 28, 2012
That is at least 35.5% more efficient that this machine. But slightly more expensive. The format that I will be using is currently under trials in Dubai – where I have been growing iceberg lettuce on a commercial basis with another Japanese firm. Once the prototype goes through its trials. I will probably register the patent. Hopefully then I can show you all how my version works.
“Let them establish the market first. Then we will invade them. This is life. Business is war. I see nothing wrong with this approach. Why cooperate when we can slash and burn? I mean come think about it. Why does it even need to rotate like a skinny Feris wheel with chains, pulleys, gears and cogs? I mean doesn’t that sound stupid to you. Our version captures light, pipes it. Here light can be controlled. We can have accelerated growth to the tune of 12 hours of day light, supplemented with artificial light.
I am very confident of my design. But let’s be frank Gentlemen. Who the fuck in this smoking room wants to grow iceberg lettuce and leafy vegs? I rather watch grass grow. Besides that’s a no brainer.
A real challenge in Singapore. In the horticultural sense is growing grapes in Singapore. Not just any grapes. The Pinot Noire. Now that is a real challenge gentlemen. A heady cocktail of cerebral fitness and to do the impossible in a tropical climate. That is why the only business model for this enterprise has to be a vineyard. No more than a hectare at most.
The Pinot is not an easy grape to cultivate. The soil has to be just right. A mixed of terraced alluvial clayish soil. The skin is wafer thin, so temperature is key. Too cold and she will be like a prune. Too warm and she will just shrivel up. It has to be just right.
Like the art of how to bring up the best in a woman. Not an easy act to pull off what ?”
October 25, 2012
In life it is uncommon for some of us to believe that we can undo the wrongs of this world and make it all right. From time to time, we may even believe we see the world clearer than anyone else. That our vision is the clearest of them all.
This afternoon I signed an agreement that makes me part of consortium – a consortium comprising of merchants of convenience, cut throats and people who I can only describe as immoral and greedy. A consortium that will ensure my continued survival even if it means others will probably have to suffer.
How does a man begin to square this with his conscience? - the short answer is he cannot. He simply has to accept the awlful truth that he may well be a hypocrite par excellence and no amount of negotiating around the matter will ever change that synopsis. Yes, I am a hypocrite – as when it comes to talking about what should be done – this seems to be the only thing that I seem be good at. But once my economic interest has been threatened; then it seems I have more or less lost my enthuism to pick up the many challenges that I once championed – it seems I don’t have any trouble to setting aside these considerations. To even regard them as trivial and unimportant. I am not a fool. I am aware of what I am getting myself into – I am mindful of the before, during and after; there is nothing here that is not within my control.
And what is a man or for any man supposed to do when he knows that he may have crossed a moral line somewhere in his head? Perhaps this man has very little choice but to simply learn to accept all this stoically - that or fashion some happy lie to try to feel better about all this. What else is there to do?
Now all of you must excuse me, I really have to return back to the meeting – like an actor on a stage. I realize there is very little scope for improvisation and one simply has to speak the lines one has been given.
No this is not the way life is supposed to be. This is probably has nothing to do with life at all. If anything it’s simply one of many instances where I am no longer sure whether I am part of a system that can produce more good than harm – I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. I am not sure anymore. Not sure at all.
October 25, 2012
I struggle with my confidence. Yesterday, I had to had to sit through six excruiting hours of meeting trying to balance the interest of my little community as a farmer alongside the larger interest of oil mill owners.
We are all supposed to find a solution to solve the pressing problem of depressed prices of oil palm. Lately the price of palm oil has been plummeting. This has had a dramatic impact on the rural economy. The mood is nervous and already I can see that many in the community are beginning to tighten their belts.
It didn’t take me very long to figure out many of these people really only care about their own interest – there are so many things that I want to do. So many things where we simply have to come together and reach a consensus. But it seems everyone is just concern about how best to protect their own interest and welfare – all I can really do is watch quietly. Yes, I am still struggling with my confidence. Yes, I feel small. Yes, I even feel like a small tiny sampan sailing in blue waters with supertankers. I want to stand up and say that this is all wrong…but it seems the noise they all make only seems to drown out what I have to say.
I realize this is all my fault. If I had a bigger hectarage, perhaps I wouldn’t be so weak and ineffectual. Yes, I need to work harder to acquire more land so that my sphere of influence increases.
Meanwhile, I have no answers. Only plenty of questions. Yes, I struggle with my confidence. I even know what I am confronted with is so big that it can probably crush me like an ant – and all I can really do is watch it go by, like something that is so big and powerful moving along – how does one even begin to stop such a thing? Where does one even begin to apply the brakes and will it stop?
"The most painful thing for any man to bear is to watch helplessly as something begins to unravel right before him. At first, he may well believe he can do something. He makes a few calculation. He tries. Then he discovers there is more. He fights it. And tomorrow again more comes his way. It's relentless. And very slowly reality begins to chip at the man bit by bit – till he finally realizes that he can do absolutely nothing but watch it all unravel in utter horror."
October 24, 2012
“The question at this point is not whether we need to bring in more foreigners if we are to continue to rack up stellar GDP’s. It is not even whether we should bring in more foreigners as we aren’t producing enough babies. If you think very carefully about the questions you ask, you will begin to realize that this will very much determine the way in which you journey towards understanding a thing.
“Consider this: let us just ask an all together different question from the one that we would usually ask. For example, how bad is the Singaporean brain drain?
You know what? No one really knows. Now let’s say in this experiment, we are allowed to postulate.
I think the Singaporean brain drain has to be bad, so bad as to even be a serious threat that exceeds being flooded by a giant tsunami. And the reason why I hold to this belief is simply because so many professional sectors have been hollowed out in the last 5 years by what I can only described as misconceived immigration policies that tilt the balance in favor of profit instead of growing a thing, which in this case may very well mean – decent jobs that don’t grind people to a pulp. Yes, “growing a thing,” was the term I used. Its an agricultural term that implies seeding, tending and harvesting – but that is what wise governments should ideally do. If they interested about growing decent jobs where people can find edifying as it fits in with the whole principle of dignity of labor.
They are always thinking about “growing a thing.” That is precisely why I support government bail out’s to a certain degree – for example, I don’t see the logic of governments pouring in good money to save zombie banks. I happen to believe that is a waste of money.
But I do see the long term pay out’s of let’s say saving an automobile or aircraft manufacturing firm. The reason why I consider the first example stupid hardly needs any elaboration. But in the case of the second example, it’s simply because those skill sets that reside within that community needs to be nourished and in certain cases protected. As to lose those skills would probably mean wiping out a entire generation of managers, supervisors and technicians who are proficient in building things – it is only when we see the job in the context of the community that we will begin to see the wisdom of regulating the flow of new foreign players into ANY job market = my point is what is often disregarded when we talk regularly about jobs being hollowed out to such a point when even Singaporeans cannot possibly consider them seriously. We are also talking about the end of many of these social linkages that makes possible the whole idea of the job perpetuating itself organically through lets say a master and apprentice relationship.
I think it is only when we begin to frame the whole idea of jobs as a set of intricate networks and linkages that we can begin to see the rough outlines of what we may have lost as a result of relentless professional immigrations. And this brings into focus, one notable fact: skill sets that reside in a profession or vocation are not easily replicable and once you have lost them, often it translates into a loss for the nation in ways that are not immediately seen.
That is the principle of growing a thing – and the same principle applies to jobs and vocations – governments or at least good government should always ensure that every sector of the job market grows properly. Not too fast and not too slow, the pace should ideally be easy going and in steady increments – the same goes for skills. They also need to be protected to grow. Some people don’t like to protect things. They much prefer it to left to the vagaries of the free market – they even believe in this clap trap known as the wisdom of the markets. Some even suggest if you protect a thing, then it will naturally be weak. That again is a gross generalization – I mean, if every farmer follows such a dogmatic rule in the hope of getting a higher yield. He would probably end up cutting every single tree down in his orchard.
My point is certain skill sets that reside in a community needs to be ALWAYS protected. And if one leaves it entirely to the vagaries of the market. Then the outcome will only be at best patchy and at worse even something resembling a social Chernobyl story.
In life it is very easy to increase yield by cannibalizing on the future. If I want to bump up my yield all I need to do is saturate the land with tons of chemical fertilizers. In the short run I will get a good return on my investment. But in the long run all I am really doing is sabotaging myself somewhere down the future. As the land itself will definitely reach a point when its so evacuated of nutrients that nothing can ever grow.
And it is the same when we talk about jobs and vocations in Singapore. Jobs aren’t really just jobs. When you look at them in the way a naturalist studies ants, you will find there are intricate networks, fine strands of relationships that network out very much like roots in a plant – but I want you to understand always, these are very delicate networks. Now when you bring in a whole lot of people into lets say law, engineering, accountancy, management, sales, engineering etc and there exist no rationale except maybe trying to break the land speed record for immigration – then what do you think will happen to these delicate linkages within the community that your job finds meaning in?
It will be destroyed. And this is basically the problem that many 40 yearish professionals face these days. Suddenly they find that all the old linkages don’t work any longer. As what unregulated immigration does to jobs is introduce new movers and shakers into the professional scene – so what will eventually happen is the natives will only see their old linkages being washed away and replaced by a new order – those who can hold on to their jobs can only go through what I call the onion life – where they see their colleagues getting displaced and marginalized or having to work unearthly hours.
I think this is instructive to most professionals. Do not expect to live a 9 to 5 life. As it’s likely to 24/7.
So the only option that I can see for this new emerging class of marginalized and displaced is elsewhere.
The real tragedy in all this is that most of them aren’t leaving for greener pastures as they are to preserve the way of life that they once cherished and loved. Now from this. We can gather a few things.
Firstly, we may ask ourselves why are so many highly qualified Singaporeans leaving Singapore? And why isn’t the government doing more to address this emerging problem?
But like I said, its hard, if not impossible to have a deep spirited discussion concerning this subject – as no one seems to want to talk about this aspect of Singapore life. My fear is no one even wants to go there – and that will simply mean this problem is likely to get bigger in the foreseeable future. Perhaps even overshadowing the whole idea of growing the economy or for that matter replacing the deficits associated with our baby blues….yes, it is a very big problem…”
October 23, 2012
The scattered leaves
shook with life
and flung the air
with swirls of dust;
swept the trees
and swayed their heads,
brushed the skies
with thick grey clouds;
layer on layer
moving in waves
and waves to attack;
an army rushing,
horde upon horde,
whirling and swirling
the dust on the road;
leaping and tearing,
snapping dry branches,
banging the windows
with a lull…
for the storm.
© Tan Pratonix
“When the rain comes. There is very little that a farmer can do. All he can really do is sit back and hope that whatever he has done is enough to prepare for the rains – other than this, what else is there for him to do? There are many lessons here.
I think in life when you really take the time and trouble to think about it, there will always be certain constants that we simply have to come to terms with – if we don’t find a way to reconcile ourselves with things which are beyond our control, then what will ultimately happen is that we will simply beat ourselves up. Or worse still end up being very frustrated people. Accepting this idea that certain things, events and even occurences are beyond our control may not seem like a life changing exercise – we can I am sure gain more from exercising or doing something more productive with our lives – but even then, no matter whether it is in work, life and play….there will always be times, when we will simply have to accept what must happen…that I think is part and parcel of life…..accepting this idea that certain things will always stay with us and even be a source of irritation has to be a form of maturity. After all when we talk about control. What are we really talking about? Most of us already live in a fish tank – and these days in the internet age when people talk about boundaries, its really like two ticks arguing who owns real estate on a dog – what I feel is missing from this narrative of emancipation is the idea, that not everything can be surmountable.
Hence, all we can really control is how we react and respond to events as they unfold all around us – I think to understand this, one needs to be realistic…and above all honest with oneself….after all it is not everyday that a man just sits back. As he realizes so many things are beyond his scope of control…”
October 21, 2012
Alvin please shut up. Keep your clothes on. And go and sell your handy cam at the nearest Cash Converter. Please go and marry that stupid girl as well. As her life is ruined by that caper you just pulled off. Either that or you’re just a half man lah. After all which sane man is going to marry her after this? She’s damaged goods.
Do you understand what it means for man to take responsibility for his actions?
Another thing please be respectful to people who have helped you – do not be an ingrate. Money does not grow on trees (that is why I always advise ppl not to take anything free from the govt) but once you take, then you have already surrendered all your rights to be your own man – an ungrateful man will bite the hand that feeds him – even my pariah dogs don’t do that to me. Shut your mouth and at least have some decency to show a bit of contrition, remorse and understanding – even if it’s false – a little goes a long way.
If you want to continue experimenting with your body parts along with exploring darken caverns – then please go and pursue your studies in some Scandinavian institutions of higher learning – you can fuck and YouTube all your exploits till your dick drops off or your die of exhaustion, whichever comes first. But please don’t do what you are doing now in ultra conservative Singapore. As all you’re doing is giving a lot of parents high blood pressure and sleepless nights.
Above all kindly disappear. Just go quietly away. Go!
“….there is no such thing as true freedom without restraint. That idea of absolute freedom is a chimera. I am not even completely sure that this serves the idea of freedom in any constructive way. It’s like talking about snakes in Norway. The bloody thing doesn’t exist! True freedom can only come with wisdom and the relentless pursuit of the truth. True freedom with intelligence is not nearly enough. It has to be trussed with discipline and purpose to give it direction and a worthy end – otherwise it will never bear fruit gentlemen.
Granted! It is his freedom to do anything he wants with the keyboard – But once you sign on the dotted line – then in my book you have also signed away your freedom – it’s really like joining the French Foreign legion. So where does the issue of freedom even come into the discussion Gentlemen?
What about my freedom? Do I not have a right to wake up every morning without having to read up about who is giving who a blow job or sleeping with underaged girls and now turning themselves into a pornographic underground production house? I mean what happened to headlines like X number of people died in an earthquake in Absurdistan? You know I am starting to miss those sort of headlines. Do I not have the right to enjoy my toast and coffee without having to puke regularly on my poor cat? What about the right of my cat? Where is my right to personal privacy – the type where I lead my life without being assaulted and feeling a sense of effrontery? What about the rights of successive scholars who are far out people like so many in this Temple of Reason? Do they not have a right to pussy? But how can they all discover the mysteries of the black forest when this fucker has already spoilt the market for all of them – now thousands of mothers are telling their daughters in Singapore and probably up North and beyond, “Never sleep with a Singapore scholar otherwise you will end up like Annabel Chong. And we will all have to migrate to Africa.” So good luck to those people trying to get laid this semester lah – I can tell you all their chances of getting laid are close to zero. And since we are on the subject of rights – what about the rights of anxious parents who are probably sending their daughters to university. Do they not have a right to sleepless nights, heart seizures along with popping high blood pressure pills?
So I hope Gentlemen that all of you are now internally convinced as to why when we speak of rights, this is really a very big geography that also encompasses other rights which may at this point in time not even be expressed. But just because these sentiments are not voiced, doesn’t mean they don’t exist – it just means none of you have pondered deeply and seriously about this subject.
Then there are those who defend him claiming that what he is done is a form of art. Some have even said, it is consensual and so there is no issue. But we all know that women are all stupid. They may be smart in the book and color of curtain sense, but since they aren’t hunters – they never ever think about the tactical or strategic or even how this might come back to either haunt them or their loved ones one fine day when she has to bring the bacon back to hungry chicks.
So please don’t come and talk nonsense and cock with me. Because let me tell you this. There are really one two types of people who see this entire development. The first are what we have always called the light weights – to them this titillates. They even derive a perverse sense of joy from this – as after all when you strip it all down to the chassis what we are really dealing here is a the epic fall of an angel. A broken arrow. A scholar who has taken the mother of all wrong turns. So of course the chattering classes will lap this all up Oh la la style.
Understand this! The second variety of men. Are the serious men. When see this development the first question they will ask is Cui Bono? Who benefits from all this? Who stands the most to gain – that is why to these people, we truly live in a world of consequences and far reaching ramifications. Many things are connected thought they appear to be disconnected.
Be that is it may. However Gentlemen, let us be clear before we step into the Temple of reason and debate this matter. I really do not know whether this is right or wrong. Maybe it is right and the problem is really with me – but my gut feel is if he doing all this to seek attention and to feel good, then he shouldn’t get a woman involved – women after all are by nature stupid and trusting – that is their nature when they are in love with a man – they are really not so different from children, so if the man doesn’t watch out for them, who is going to protect them? He should go and marry her as soon as possible. Pressure should be directed specifically there, hard and unremitting pressure – besides we also have to consider that he’s just out of gain publicity for whatever he has done – to be frank, this urge to be noticed or recognized is really a crappy motivation and maybe the best thing to do is to create the right conditions where this fellow can do his own thing in his own shark infested island. I think it is best to cut off all his avenues of publicity, to cut every single node, hub and crossroad. To do it in such a way where he disappears completely from the face of this digital universe…….Gentlemen, it has been privilege….need I say? I was not here, I did not say any of these things……..take my advice…when we all go into this house for the sitting…we should table a motion to send a third stage Guild navigator without delay with irrevocable skull seals from the Council of the wise and make sure every single webmaster knows about this..this man will disappear from the face of this planet…he never ever existed except in the figment of our imagination…I see a far wider implication at stake here…as I can see that the custodians of power will definitely use this as an excuse to further regulate the Internet with black lettered legislation…those crooked bastards have been waiting for this…You have to understand, we are dealing with a bunch of used car salesmen who have no concept of the word honor, level playing field or even the remote idea that there is such a thing as being on the level – and my fear is this idiot has just given them one very bloody good reason to do whatever they want to do…this is why it is strategic. This is why the ramifications of this event is far reaching and that Gentlemen simply means he has to disappear from the digital landscape…do you all understand?….I see plans within plans Gentlemen, that is why I really do not consider this funny at all. I know what is at stake. That idiot doesn’t even have the slightest notion of what I am even talking about – he is really too busy trying to fashion himself as the Truman show.”
excerpt of a conversation captured somewhere in the endless corridors of the Temple of Reason in Primus Aldentes Prime – The Brotherhood Press 2012
October 20, 2012
Five years ago in East Coast Park, Singapore at 0445
The stranger stood motionless all alone on Bedok Jetty dressed in his skin tight jet black bicycle gear – he looked out across the vast infinity of the dark sea that stretched before him like a proud plantation owner who stands on a hill and surveys his lands. There was an unmistakable swagger about the man. In the way he stood, with one leg ever so slightly higher than the other with one hand on his hip – maybe it was the way he carried himself. There was something pensive in his gaze as well like falcon – or maybe it was the strange electrically charged air that made Missy Dotty’s teeth feel tight and edgy at the unearthly hour of 4.49, like how she felt when she had first worn braces.
That morning, a strange and almost alien mood pervaded Bedok jetty. And though the curious woman had often visited this place – she couldn’t quite remember it being the way it was that morning. The twenty six year old lawyer found herself suddenly in a very strange place from the one she had always known.
As the very curious woman looked on, she found herself transfixed on the solitary figure, who stood all by himself on the jetty – there was something peculiar about this lone figure – it was as if he was written in an alphabet that she couldn’t quite read. An ancient script. One that doesn’t quite fit with the world. This idea gnawed at her. Since Dotty prided herself by being able to see the world clearer than anyone else – and now standing before her was a connundrum she could hardly fathom.
Suddenly the man lean forward slightly. As if he had caught sight of something that he had waited for so long to see – Yes, she said to herself….he has seen something…I must see it as well…The curious woman was interested to know what caught the man’s attention – this she believed to be a key that would allow her to open the door called CURIOSITY. She had after all woken up earlier than usual (even sacrificed her beauty sleep, as who bloody ever wakes up at four in the morning!) just for this moment when she knew this strange lonely figure that she was less than 20 feet away from would always come here this time of the year.
He had first appeared three years ago around this time. And she had first seen him from a distance from the balcony of her new trendy apartment in Bayshore. The man had come every morning for 5 consecutive days. And when the rains came. He would stand for hours. When the monsoon came. Poof! He was gone. And in the following year like one of those exotic migratory birds that one never seems to see when one wants to see one, suddenly reappears again. Always at this time of the year. Always at this hour between light and darkness – this no man’s place – this time that Dotty would come to call later in her life. The hour of hesitation.
A hour that Missy Dotty came to understand as a very unusual hour. A hour that perhaps even heightened and sharpened her already tak boleh tahan meter* by a good 9.5 on a scale of 1 to 10. This lone figure silhouetted against a dark azure sky who simply stood for hours and waited…and waited..she remembered asking herself, “what is he waiting for? I must see what he sees. Then I shall understand?”
The curious woman knew the man would appear just around this time of the year again in Bedok Jetty – this time, she had made it a point to ride her bicycle to take a closer look – but that morning nothing prepared the curious woman for what was to happen – for one it was hardly a normal morning – Miss Dotty, began to notice, the leaves stirred around in tight circles like the mistral that once danced in the Sahara in the continent of Africa. This she gathered from cable TV nature documentaries.
Though it was still dark, the sky was filled with an eerie paraffin blue velvety darkness that looked almost like the faint light that shines through old and dark wine bottles. Even the air from the sea that day possessed and almost needle like quality that made breathing painful – Missy Dotty had never experienced Bedok Jetty in this strange twilight of time and space before – so she moved closer to the man. From this distance, she could make out the features of the man who stood less than an arm length away – the man seemed to be peering intently at a column of scudding clouds far off in the horizon making it’s way. Missy Dotty looked out. She looked back at the man again. His eyes began to narrow. His hands began to clench the railing. She looked out once again at that column of clouds and now realized there were tiny glistening dots….birds lit by the moonlight. Birds. They seem to be flying frantically. Desperately. Away from the dark wall of iron clouds blowing inland – flying as fast as their wings can take them. That. Or else….Somewhere between the eight or tenth time when she had snapped back and forth at the man and what he saw – Missy Dotty realized the man was rooting for the birds from being gobbled up by those menacing clouds that looked like a giant steamroller.
Then, seemingly in an instant. When just a while ago it was just another dry dawn – now sheets of rain began to gush down. The heavy, spattering raindrops that even the curious woman who was called Dotty realized announced the arrival of the life-giving monsoon. Yet the man who stood in the jetty at day break staring out into the infinity of the sea – wasn’t very concerned about the rains. As he seemed to waiting for something else to happen.
It was at that very moment when the first rays of the rising sun began to finger out and flame the approaching clouds – that Dotty noticed a breathtaking spectacle – thousands of swiflets began to appear from nowhere – the deep purplish orange skies screamed, like an orchestra at a thunderous pitch of C major full blast – the wings of the birds were set ablaze by the morning sun and they all looked like a shower of meteors – they darted through the eerie lit dawn apricot skies by the thousands for just a few seconds and then it was over – silence and nothingness followed. Suddenly and abruptly – and that moment, the man nodded his head knowingly and pursed his lips. He smiled and even laughed. Then as if suddenly being aware that he was being watched all the time. He looked at the girl with the Brompton and said,
“Yes…yes… my fine feathered friends have finally made it through this time. They are safe. Here in Singapore, they will be able to rest, hunt and fatten up before they decide to fly elsewhere.”
That morning the 26 year old woman understood – she realized the man who stood before her knew how it was like to be hunted.
That morning Miss Curiousity aka Missy Dotty murmured to herself,
“How interesting….a man who knows how its like to be hunted….”
October 18, 2012
Historians like to say that we can’t undo globalization and “go back” to the happy days when life was easier and less stressful – that is certainly true in a general sort of way. But as a matter of fact, in farming circles, we are always “going back” one way or another.
In every generation there are always people who decide that “going back” is a way to escape what they consider to be fundamentally wrong and distressing about the present and there are a whole lot of people, now who are just doing precisely that – they are voting with their slippers. In many cases even leaving Singapore for a less stressful life where they hope that things will be better for their loved ones.
Today, our politicians refer to this class of “go back” people as “quitters.” But I am reminded they do so, only because these people are not dumb enough to impersonate brain damaged hamsters running around in a wheel that goes nowhere – I would much prefer to believe and say that those who choose to “go back,” are going forward to a new land of opportunity that holds out a better promise of what Singapore can actually offer to the average worker – and this new attitude seems to be showing of late with the increasing new breed of farmers who are now coming to the countryside to turn the wheel of life.
Throughout the world, we are now witnessing a monumental shift in how people are increasingly aware that they no longer want to live in a hermetically sealed bubble warped Truman’s word – where governments control everything from the right to own a car to even the how long one should work in the office – call it what you want. An awakening, revolution or new consciousness – but one thing is certain, the tide has begun and in this new world order and its irreversible.
Amid this sea of change – I am slowly realizing that as more and more young professionals grow increasingly disenchanted with urban modern life and choose instead to turn the wheel of life as farmers – many of these “go back” newbies are coming to me and in some cases even treating me as a sort of de facto leader.
It seems that I have my new role cut out for me – I simply have to step up to the plate and play this role the best, I can. What else after all is there to do?
“Plantation life has always been the last refuge against the chastening passage of change – if you spend some time in a plantation. You will gather what I mean by this whole idea of linking plantation life to the word “refuge” and “sanctuary.” As that is really what plantation life is all about – it’s slow. And this slowness permeates the human spirit, it colors the hours and minutes in your day – this slowness that seems almost to stand like some statute against the chastening passage of ceaseless change – all around it everything is moving at a break neck speed, everyone is either running around like headless chickens or trying to get more done in the course of an eight hour day – but in plantation life – life just goes right on at the speed, cadence and pace that it has always proceeded, it can never be hurried or rushed.
That’s why I have always seen myself as a planter. This to me is heaven. For me this is the way every human being should at least experience once in their lifetime – those who don’t know this have simply never lived before or worse still maybe all they have is the illusion that they a living, when in fact, all they are really doing is existing – as what they all probably never experienced before is deliberately slowing down. Slowing down the mind, taking all the time in the world to look at a problem and to work it out slowly and carefully – they have never really spent a week or even a few days in a plantation. But if you are lucky enough to know a farmer and can facilitate you to make that quantum leap into that other world where the chastening passage of time has no dominion – then I think everything will be very clear….very clear indeed.
You will reach a point when you will begin to realize. THIS IS MY LIFE. I am not here to be a tool or just to generate tax dollars to keep a couple of delusional leaders living in style.
Once you lead the plantation life – you may even draw the logical conclusion that this people are really optional to the whole idea of your happiness and well being. As what you have really done as a man is to draw a line on the sand and say to the world,
“This is where my world belongs, and over that side of the line is their world.”
That is to say the man is slowly awakening from his slumber – he is beginning to discover that he has the power to assert control over his life.
Am I surprised these days that even city folk in Singapore are thinking seriously about farming now. No! After all thousands of Singaporeans migrate every year – and these people are not idiots or for that matter quitters – they represent the most educated lot in our community, the most mobile, those who probably have the highest human potential. So why have all these people decided to call it quits? Are you telling me that they all don’t have story to share? Are you saying to me that they are all misled and delusional?
I think this is something that you would all do well to think deeper about.
Not in the least surprised at all…as what you need to understand is the relationship between land and man is a very powerful pull. A sort of attraction that slowly grows on a man till he finds that this is really the only place where he really belongs….I think if you sit down with any farmer and ask him why he loves the land as passionately as he does – you will find that what I shared with you will not be so different from what he has to say. I wish you all the best of luck. And if there is anything that I can do to render in any shape or form assistance, help or just the opportunity to fellowship – please feel free to drop me a line.”
October 17, 2012
Look here dummy. It is really very simple – how to be your own man, that is. The goal is roughly divided into 3 main stages - first graduate with a passable upper class honors, make enough money to strike out on your own as the master of your destiny. Make something significant out of your miserable lot. Then when you find you’re the ONLY monkey standing proud on the hill – then and ONLY then, can you really afford to be your own man!
But when one hasn’t even cut the first baby set of teeth by graduating. Let alone chalking up the requisite number of years as a “Yes sir, three bags full…” salaried man to get the contacts, network and experience. Or for that matter even started a business to turn the first million successfully.
Then to step right out into the world in your own skin – just takes the idea of being your own man to a surreal and unbelievable level - where it could be said, Alvin Tan is so open minded, his brains is probably spilling out.
All you have really done is painted yourself into a corner Alvin. How silly. Now 1 to 3 is going to be ten or maybe twenty times harder – I am sorry, but you are fucked!
“Understand this! The facts of life are cruel and often brutal. If you happen to be a blogger in Singapore. Then it makes absolutely no sense to be honest and forth right, if you happen to be either a civil servant or salaried man. The chips are really stacked against you from the word GO. If you happen to only draw a salary of less than 3K. Then you shouldn’t even be blogging.
Whether you like it or not. People really only respect money. No one is just going to just respect you as a human being. I know they should. I even believe you have every right to be accorded a modicum of respect. But you know what? That’s the exception. That unfortunately is not the way, the world works. All you really have, if you don’t have the power to give back as good as they dish out is the illusion that others respect you.
I really don’t believe it makes any sense whatsoever to rely implicitly on the sagacity, patience and the unlimited ability of others to understand you – you know what? In truth no body in their right frame of mind would even want to understand another person – why should they? Life is after all tough! So people dont normally sit down and think about others deeply UNLESS there is the right incentive to do so – in most cases, people will make decisions about you based on what they perceive to be right or wrong according to their standards and NEVER yours.
My point is the ONLY time when you can really afford to be your own man is when you are in a position to say to others, “I do not need this job.” Or, “I don’t need your approval to turn the wheel of life” i.e “what you think about me has absolutely no capacity to alter my earning capacity.”
You really need to go right back to fundamentals and ask yourself – WHAT IS THE GOAL? If the goal is to get ahead in life – then I think, it pays to play the hypocrite and even tow the line or at least create the impression that you are not the sort who enjoy rubbing Vaseline all over your body and singing naked under the moon.
Either that or work really hard to gain financial independence. Let me put it another way. If the other side knows that you have deep pockets or the capability to overreach into their comfort zone and mess up their lives. Then they will think twice and even thrice about suing you or even marking you down for doing whatever you have done - as if they try to pull that stunt, you probably have enough influence within your circle of business associates and friends to inflict significant damage on the other side. This they will have to factor into their risk assessment, if they want to take you on.
But if all you can really do is breathe and shit along with remaining permanently stuck in the 2K salary zone and you expect the world to be fair and square to you. Then I think you have to be either very naive or stupid or both. As in Singapore this is the really the unwritten rule of blogging. If you don’t have the capacity to take the other side to town – then you simply cannot AFFORD to be your own man. You just have to get used to shutting your mouth or towing the line – and that is the truth and nothing but the truth.
That is to say, a precondition of being your own man first requires you to be financially independent. Without this then it is pointless to talk about freedom and the right to be who you really are – and it’s best to just keep your clothes on.”
Extracted very recently from a thread about Alvin Tan, captured by the Brotherhood Press in Ekunaba.
“does being single make me less of a man?” It gives me no pleasure to say this ladies. But, of course it does. I guess one can wax lyrical about the joys of being independent, single, unfettered etc etc.
Or seek comfort food in endless male bonding sessions etc etc. But my point is these are merely very poor substitutes for the real thing – you got to understand, when a man or woman is single, its really an unnatural state – and whatever we may use to try to fill up that blank space has to be at best a prosthetic like a plastic limb or a device like a wheel chair that one regularly uses to get by.
Sure singles can spend their time like cripples and wax lyrical about how all men or women are half and quart measures and we would all be better off winging it on our own – in the way cripples often recount with glee how wheels are far more kinetically efficient than even human limbs. They may even be right! We may even be able to do really nifty tricks on our wheelchairs from time to time for laugh. Only let us all be frank and also accept the idea that when a cripple is confronted with a flight of stairs. Then reality hits home and usually it hits hard.
I know how it is to be alone more than any of you. More than maybe all of you in this thread combined.
I am also acutely aware of how an intelligent man can even derive an almost delightful perverse sense of pride and satisfaction from that petulant idea that he needs no one – that he can and will always manage all by himself. But I don’t ever want to go down that road. Never. As it’s really the road to perdition. That can only lead one to a hall of mirrors, where the incomplete man somehow manages to do the impossible and successfully convinces himself that he is somehow whole and complete without a woman – perhaps I have spent many years alone in mainly hostile countries where I have always had to be a hard and difficult man. And I am acutely aware of how a man IF left alone for prolonged periods can only be very destructive, cruel and inhumane. And that again is something that is so easy to do. So very easy.
But my gut feel is the greatest danger to any man like myself, especially, if he is successful is to be lulled into the false belief that incompleteness can somehow magically be transformed into a whole and complete state of being – that he can somehow be complete with just the sheer power of money, status and influence. And that if you must know is terribly easy to do. So easy it seems. That one can even step into that comfortable place and never ever want to step out again.
And that could well be the ONLY reason why I never ever want to allow myself to even step into that place. I much prefer the crushing and bitter sweet reality, as you put it,
“does being single make you less of a man?”
And the reply is yes, it does make me less of a man. Much less…. I am afraid. But at least even in this discomfort zone…I am still a whole man who knows and accepts the truth…the truth and nothing, but the truth.
Now you must excuse me ladies. I have to go to field now. I need to get drunk with my jungle friends.
Extracted from a thread in a blog in District 9 (currently under measured responsed) relayed by the Starcruiser KDD California – The Brotherhood Press – subject: LIFE, HONESTY and the RIGHT TO BE YOUR OWN MAN.
October 15, 2012
When Eva Meyer turned the street corner to walk up the stone steps that led up to her apartment that summer’s afternoon – she hesitated. Usually she would just walk right up to the door with her keys in hand, insert the key into the lock, turn the barrel, open the door and step right in. But that day as Eva Meyer walked towards the door of her apartment she wasn’t even holding her keys – instead, she reached for the two gold keys that hung around her neck – a necklace that she has always worn and never ever taken off after Africa – she knew the man had followed her all the way home. But that was not the reason why she had hesitated – as that day Eva Meyer found herself standing before a fork road in her mind’s eye.
To one side was the road that she called ‘her’ life, that she now owned and steered in Munich Germany as a director of a fine arts Museum. It may not be a very exciting life. But nonetheless it was a life that the former nun knew she had chosen to live. Above all it was a life without him.
The other road was to the great unknown – the road that once began all the way back to a distant life where a nun once met a Cocoa planter somewhere deep in Africa – that day as the woman hesitated somewhere in between the stone steps leading to her apartment – she realized that if she even so much as looked back at the man whose footsteps had now stopped. That would be as good as walking down that great unknown road.
A road that Eva Meyer realized would never be as predictable or for that matter as placid, as the life she had always known. She knew it deep in her heart – the man led a life in darkened caverns filled with intrigues – he was always wheeling and dealing in the preamble of that in between world of light and day – that world of twilight where the line between right and wrong, good and evil along with fear and fascination was so blur that it might not even exist at all. But it wasn’t fear of this man’s world that made Eva Meyer hesitate that afternoon. Neither did it have anything to do with his dark side.
If anything made Eva Meyer hesitate longer than usual that day on the stone steps leading to her apartment – it was the idea that the man who stood behind her had already sensed her deepest yearnings and darkest fears – she knew that he realized that she, Eva Meyer, the woman did not have the courage to choose which of the two fork roads to walk that day. She even realized he had to be the one who had to choose for both of them, this time.
After all, he has too, she said to herself assuredly,
“I have the keys….”
So that day, the man gently took the well dressed German lady’s hand and led her up to the door and together they stepped into the apartment.
October 14, 2012
Munchen, Germany three and a half years ago.
At age 36 Eva Meyer the missionary nun who once went to Africa in the moment of her youth was reincarnated as the newly appointed fine arts curator of the prestigious Neuve Pinakothek. Eva was slim, tall, chic and sported short wavy blond hair. She knew the man who came into her life just a week ago was attracted to her because she had short hair. She had an instinct about these things – She had chanced on the stranger while running errands in Odeanplatz that Summer.
There was something familiar about the Chinaman who stepped out from the jet black Masserati that day - perhaps, it was his familiar stillness and that unmistakeable blend of lingering sadness as the man fed the pigeons that morning as he stood in the wide expanse of the public square, as if lost in his own thoughts - that morning, as Eva looked on tranfixed at the lone figure she was convinced that he was none other than the man who had crossed an ocean of time to find her. The man was dressed in a stylish charcoal turtle neck, dark suit with his hair slicked back. But it was him. He was older now. But age had hardly touched him – it was still the same him, she thought. It was the quiet confident way he carried himself. The assured and precise way in which he moved like a matador. His leanest showed through as he took off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves. His cadence in the way he lit a cigarette and leaned back into his chair and smiled ever so faintly. Even the way he flirted with the waitress that day was very much him. All these things gave him away. Along with the primal way he had looked at her in the way a hunter narrows his eyes ever so slightly whenever he catches sight of his prey. That day Eva found herself inexplicably drawn to the stranger like a moth to a tongue of light. This strange oriental man who had appeared from nowhere had stirred the depths of her memories and reminded her of someone who she had once known, once loved and left suddenly without a trace and now as if by sheer magic he had somehow managed to tranverse that great ocean of time to reappear here again – he had followed her through the cobbled stone streets of old Munich that day. From time to time, Eva would glance back to see whether he was still following her. The man did not hide that he was trailing her. He seemed to look at her knowingly…. in the way another man once looked at her a man a long time ago when she was in Africa. Yes, Africa she had thought to herself. That day Eva had made it easy for him by keeping to the wide open boulevards…she had even kept her pace slow…..She remembered feeling preyed on. And she was glad for it. For deep in her heart Eva Meyer knew that the stranger was none other than the Chinaman Cocoa Planter who everyone in Northern Uganda called, Shahidi. The man even her mother Superior once described as “a rouge ivory trader, illegal goldminer, gun runner, deflowerer of women who masqueraded as a respectable gentlemen planter…the devil!” That day as Eva walked along the cobble stone streets of old munich, she realized this same man who she once loved with all her heart had returned to her. And with these thoughts as the former nun walked that day with the full knowledge that the man would always be behind her….following…watching.. the very thought filled her with a girlish sense of expectancy.
In the week days, Eva lived with Fritz, a Cheshire cat in a three bedroom apartment in the trendy section Moosach along Dallmayrplatz. On weekends she spent it in the country in a Bavarian hunting log house in Bei Freising in suburban Munchen.
She looked at the expensive watch the man gave her. It was quarter past three. She smiled. The man would have just touched down from the Lufthansa flight from Singapore just about now. It would take him exactly 20 minutes to clear immigration and customs and another 10 to make his way to the annex of the Flughafen – in this windowless squat like building that resembled an aircraft hangar. This was where the rich and famous kept their Masseratis, Lambohginis and Ferraris. The man kept a humble paid locker. Eva knew it would take another 10 minutes for him to change into his riding leathers. Another 5 minutes perhaps to make his way to the basement where his black BMW motorcycle was fueled and readied by mechanics. By the time the man was barreling down the autobahn at 170 kmh towards bei Freising, it would probably be close to four. Eva smile again. Then she became pensive. Or maybe not. Then she walked to one of the full length windows and a mischievous smile broke out again. Maybe it would take longer. This time she muttered the words against the glass – it left a vapor mark. And she drew a heart. It was after all her birthday. She knew the man would stop at the Grossaucheun to buy her flowers. That might just slow him down abit, she thought.
October 13, 2012
We can disagree on many things. But one of the things we can all agree on without too much difficulty is, the greatest change in Singapore over the last ten years is its culture – namely the growing preoccupation with money. Let’s be clear, this isn’t going to be another money is the root of all evil rant or preachy take on how people should regard the idea of money – the way I see it, there is nothing wrong with striving for money per se. There is however something very wrong when money becomes the predominant activity where it even assumes an end by itself – this hardly requires any elaboration – when the money only culture roots itself into any society, it’s effects can be pernicious – as not only does the measure of a person and his worth become inextricably linked with the whole idea of money; but what also happens is it becomes the preeminent benchmark that determines everything that is good or worthless – in short it narrows out the field of possibilities squeezing out all else.
Question: Is Singapore barreling inexorably towards that kind of money obsessed culture, that I have just described? I’ve be honest with you, when I read about high flying civil servants who are so disconnected with the ground swell as to even splurge out on Fin de siècle Parisian gastronomic holidays – public servants who scam taxpayers just so they can crash their Italian sport cars into lampost – ex civil servants who have no qualms about blowing $800 on a tryst – and how our political class seem to be only interested in rhapsodizing endlessly about our stellar GDP growth and gilded cage standard of living despite failing to deliver any discernible benefits to the average man in the street or how that might even bridge the chronic income equality. Then say what you like, but what begins to emerge is an unsavory picture where its even conceivable money now rivals or even exceeds the whole idea of values vis-a-vis not only does this single track goal subvert good values, but it may also lead good people to do things that are morally questionable, if not reprehensible, thus inflicting a deep gash, in the concept of the whole idea of public service.
I realize only too well when the moral narrative is juxtaposed against a regime where minister regularly get paid million dollar salaries – the whole idea of higher principles and values sounds rather out of synch and may even be closer to an admirable sentiment than something that can offer a real workable solution – after all say what you like but just as no one can run away from the law of economics – a corollary of that logic also imposes on us the belief, if you are only willing to pay peanuts; then all you’re probably going to end up with is monkeys – and we all know that it pays naught to have monkeys managing the levers of power.
True as that may be, but true to only a point. And this is what many may have forgotten – instead they may have elevated this notion into the upper reaches of a fait accompli i.e a fantasy.
I guess one reason why the idea of money and high performance is so often seen as one of the same reality in Singapore may have something to do with how we have all been subtly conditioned to only perceive value on in quantitative terms of yield, profit and return on investment terms – my point is before we can even begin deconstructing the myth that money = talent = high performance = good life for all, it’s necessary to understand this uniquely Singaporean mindset is an acquired taste and not something that comes naturally to whole idea of the public service culture in any part of the world (though in the banking community, for some funny reason it seems perfectly normal to pay out creamy bonuses even when they are foreclosing, that could also be one reason why so many taxpayers want to light them up) – to me, that explains why the money culture has managed to entrench itself so deeply in the Singaporean mentality -coloring not only our worldview; but also how we may define personal and organizational success. In summary, if we cannot define progress in terms of GNP and GDP, then it simply doesn’t exist – the flip side of that myopic lens of seeing the world in only utilitarian, pragmatic and functional terms is it’s bound to squeeze out all other considerations which cannot measured. Wonder no more why moral considerations and so many other factors that should normally feature in the decision making process are simply extinguished?
A side effect of pursuing this corrosive logic is not only do we end up debasing the whole idea of public service as simply a transactional quid pro quo exchange but what it also does is cast out the spirit of public service and idealism. Neither is it possible for us to gain a deeper understanding of how inuring the system with chasing the buck culture brings only untold grief to the submerged classes who have been ravaged by unbridled competition. I realize only to well when we speak these days about engendering and nourishing this spirit in Singapore it’s like talking about snakes in Norway – the bloody thing doesn’t exist; but when I read about the great endeavors that mankind has undertaken throughout the course of history – putting an end to slavery; seeding the idea of democracy and saying no apartheid and banishing parochialism and sectarian violence – I am reminded none of these great endeavors would have been possible without recruiting the idea of nourishing higher ideals and principles - it’s inconceivable for me to see how we can work towards a better world if the system is designed to attract only those who wish to benefit financially from government service. I don’t deny that idea may have of late gained currency as we are always informed that there is only one type of man that resides in every one of us – and he is none other than Homo economicus, or Economic human, a being so pragmatic and rational and driven by self-interest that he has even come to color the entire discipline of the economics along with the marketing manifesto and how policies are regularly crafted – however what’s so often elided about the story of Homo economicus, is he’s first and foremost a primal and feral creature – if Homo economicus was a real man, we would probably have to shoot him with a tranquilizer gun, put him in chains and pack him off to get his head examined by Lee Wei Ling as his serial single mindedness to seek out profit at every turn and opportunity is the very reason why the financial world is in such a mess and so many continue to be shackled in the chains of income inequality- to me this is a curious state of affairs, as since most of us will have very little difficulty in understanding why it may be a lousy idea to hire someone who regularly hear voices to pilot a 747 – or that it’s might not be an ideal fit to employ someone who has a habit of breaking out in tongues whenever he is stressed as an air traffic controller. But when it comes to managing the free market enterprise or crafting policies that affect millions of lives no one seems to be particularly bothered about putting a psychopathic profiteer in charge who probably thinks moral probity is a name of a range of womens panties – that’s why I don’t believe this flawed model of humanity can ever be allowed free rein let alone predominate so much of our thinking as to even shape the outlook of the civil service culture right down to coloring the broader complexion of statecraft, if the goal is to create a progressive society.
If the 2008 economic meltdown has taught us anything at all – it is simply this, life is not so simple where all one has to do is pay the highest dollar to attract the best talent thereby securing a lasting and stable future – it’s a gross simplification to assume the profit motive alone can be the the central linchpin that reliably translates talent into high performance or for that matter deliver the idea of the level playing field – as if we continue to pursue his jalopy of an idea to its logical end not only will there always be a divide between theory and practice, but as we all saw so clearly in the carnage of the financial crisis, if the profit motive is not coupled to the idea of higher principles, values and ethics – then the shit will hit the fan – neither does it profit us to frame the ills of our age in purely technical and mechanical terms while decamping from the importance of values and the role it might have on the outcome: while palpably true globalization may have exacerbated income inequality but so has unbridled run away train immigration along with the state sanctioned habit of passing cost spikes to the end user automatically – while no one denies the capricious forces of globalization do not lend themselves easily to control, but can we say the same of policies that guide immigration and the corrosive culture of passing the cost to the end user like an automaton?
Doing away with a principled approach may be fine and well, if you’re fixing a broken pump; but as we all witnesses in the financial crisis and even the recent BP fiasco: avarice, greed and willingness to trade short term gain for long term benefits simply create perfect conditions for grief. And this again underscores the importance of having moral coherency instead of what we may mistakenly believe to be talent, if we are to craft good policies that do not only serve to heighten the already acute anxieties of our times.
If there are any lessons to be gleaned from the shattered dreams of the last economic crisis, it is only this: this is not an economic glitch or a failure of financial system as we are so often led to believe by the apparatus of mass assimilation, but at the heart of the problem its an old fashion moral dilemma – where idolizing the money culture played a preponderant role in the anatomy of failure. To me the lessons are clear, we cannot do without a moral compass – if the goal is to build a holistic goody good machine where the public is to continue to trust the system. It’s conceivable we may even need to set a new bearing so that we can begin to ween ourselves from this idea that high performance can only had at the expense of seeding a culture that encourages only people whose only metier is to know which side of the bread is buttered – if we continue on the current path all we would be doing is filling up the ranks with parvenu’s and the automata – Rather what is required instead is to revivify the system by placing a renewed emphasis on moral and ethical wholeness – Neither should we discount character so completely as to believe for one moment that what a person chooses to do in his personal life has nothing whatsoever to do with his professional life – if he were a businessman then I say; let the market sort him out, even then as we all saw from the Madoff scandal, there are limits in the absence of ethical safeguards – and this begs the question: what more if the person in question happens to be a public servant? Can we then say, the only line that will keep this man in check may well be the very same “admirable sentiment,” that our custodians of power once considered expedient to dismiss as irrelevant and incapable of eliciting the right attitude for public service?
I think not. You see I just happen to have a wonder weapon on my side, history is dead stacked against Homo Economis.
“The middle class in Singapore has been systematically obliterated by the PAP. Yes you can go and quote me if you all wish. Better still, go and tell all your friends, the middle class in Singapore is being ass fucked! That is a much more accurate description of what is really going on. And now there is a new nail that is to be hammered into the coffin. http://tankinlian.blogspot.com/2012/10/motorists-to-be-hit-in-pocket-again.html And this goes on and on and on in Singapore. As if its the most natural and expected thing to ever happen. That to me has to be a very perverse form of joke. One that I dont consider very funny at all.”
October 12, 2012
The question is very simple. It is not whether bringing in more foreigners will create more jobs for natives. But what type of jobs exactly is created? Are these even good jobs that nourishes the whole idea of dignity of labor and can even edify those who choose to work in these firms? Or is a job from hell?
The question is not whether SME’s and firms such as the lying and cheating green frog outlet (that I and all my friends have boycotted and will continue to do so) can continue to grow their businesses without access to cheap labor. It is simply what type of jobs do these employers regular create?
Again, the question is not even whether Singapore can survive or sink in the future, if we don’t open our doors to foreigners. But simply what type of jobs will be create if we allow foreigners to flood the job market without even so much as a minimum criteria?
What type of jobs are regularly created? Do these jobs add or subtract from the whole idea of quality of life? Do they make people happier or sadder? Do they provision for personal And spiritual growth? Do these jobs even allow the average native worker to spend more quality time with their loved ones? Or is it a fucked up 13 hour dehumanizing hell kitchen shit job that is on offer for 3K per month dish washer?
Once this question is answered then and only then will a real conversation begin. As it is, it is just giant waste of time and energy. Wonder no more, why no one seems to be particular interested in having a conversation.
“If you are stupid enough believe that good for nothing CEO who runs the green frog outlet, then you also have to consider the theoretical possibility that in countries where migrant workers are strictly controlled – everyone is either eating on banana leaf or disposal paper plates and plastic cutlery. But if you go to Paris, London and Vancouver, do you see diners eating on the floor? Do Parisians eat on banana leaf? Do you see Canadians eating on only paper plates? What about America. If you go to a sushi bar. Do you see a sign that says, bring your own plates and cutlery.
So please don’t begin a conversation by insulting my intelligence. If you do that. I am just going to get up and walk through the door. I am warning you! Do you hear me!
So tell me now one more time please – what have we learnt so far? We can all surmise that in these countries where access to cheap and nasty labor is strictly control – businesses have ALL without a single exception managed to solve this problem successfully. So why is it this cannot be done in Singapore?
Tell me does this argument even make sense? I think it is time to take a closer look at many of these SME’s who claim that a labor crunch will hurt their businesses. If their goal is simply to keep cost down to compete. Then they should really relocate elsewhere. After all do you see me writing to the National Parks to request for a palm oil concession? Do you see anyone growing Cocoa or rubber in Bukit Timah? No! the reason why you don’t regular see that is because land is very expensive in Singapore. That simply means for a commercial farming business to succeed, it must be able to manage this sort of constrains intelligently by leveraging on inter continental factors. That simply means if you want to grow oil palm – as a firm you simply have to go abroad. But even then as the CEO. You can never run away from managing your constrains and bottlenecks wisely. As if you have some money, you can go to either Malaysia or Indonesia to grow oil palm. If you have less, then you can only go to slightly more dangerous places such as Africa and South America. If you have no money, then you have no other choice but to go deep into uncharted Africa far from where the Gambezi runs. There is still free land there. I made my fortune there. So dont let anyone tell you there is no such thing as free land. But you will probably also have to get used to people pointing guns at you regularly. My point is as a businessman. You’re always managing the bottlenecks and constrains to stay ahead of the competition. That is all you do when you are a businessman – if you’re not doing that, then in my book, that isn’t business at all!
But if all the Singapore government can do is to supply the narcotic of cheap labor to keep firms in business – then it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that in the long run none of these firms will ever be able to compete internationally. As what they are inadvertently doing is creating perfect conditions for lousy firms and not winners to flourish. As once a firm does not need to manage bottlenecks and constrains intelligently i.e labor cost. Then in my book, they aren’t really doing business in the first place – that is to say, if ANY firm cannot sustain it’s business process without access to cheap and nasty labor, then you have to ask yourself – how can they even compete internationally – all you’re really doing is creating the illusion that you’re growing businesses. But in reality, the only thing that is created is a whole lot of flabby industries that shouldn’t even be in business in the first place.
Do you all see where I am coming from? Or do I have to drag out the person who started this thread? You see my friends, the goal to me is not ONLY about creating jobs and the increasing the aperture for opportunities. This is what the PAP likes to keep insisting. If we are to be thorough and exhaustive, then the equation for job creation should also ensure ONLY quality jobs are created. And not the hell kitchen variety that only that shitty good for nothing CEO of the green frog seems to be regularly churning out. As to be perfectly honest with all of you. I really don’t see the point of creating jobs for the sake of creating jobs – that cannot be an end by itself – it is simply a means to and end – that means there has to be something more to this simplistic equation besides the whole subject of how many jobs do foreigners create? We need to go one step deeper and ask further: what type of jobs do these firms created? Are they good jobs where people can enjoy the whole idea of dignity of labor. Or are they jobs that simply grind down the human spirit and further dehumanize people.
I think this is one question that is seldom asked and should be asked. But don’t hold your breathe as if you ask a half or quart man this question – the chances are, he will just run away somewhere for another conversation that he much prefers – and that is a real problem.”
October 10, 2012
The Chinaman Cocoa Farmer of Gabundi estate stood at the edge of his half completed mansion on the only hill overlooking his vast estate – as usual the Shahidi wore his open neck Khaki shirt, flared ridding breeches, knee high tan polished boots. Flanked by his tall Matabilli tribesman bodyguard that day the Chinaman had specially worn white cotton gloves – as he was on site that day to chaperone the new German school teacher nun who had expressed an interest in taking a closer look at his new mansion – as the European school teacher walked beside the Shahidi, she paused and suddenly a quizzical look seemed almost to invade her serene features – she was curious as to why there were rectangular holes at the upper level of each wall. When she asked the Shahidi. The man smiled wrly and told her, “it is for my fine feathered friends…for them to rest, hunt and fatten themselves before they make that epic journey to wherever they are flying to…” When the German nun turned to him as if asking why. He had merely replied, “You see Madam, I know how it is like when one is on the run…” And with these words the Shahidi gestured towards the Moroccon design hall with its hand painted tiles and cut crystal French Chandeliers.
Eight Months ago somewhere in an oil palm estate
The oil palm landowner was dressed that day in his No.2 formal Khaki bushjacket and mirror polish laced shoes – he had stood there on the same spot for hours as he supervised the workers working on the strange looking rectangular portholes on the upper level of the walls. For the last two days, he had stood on the same spot overseeing like a falcon this section of the work - when one of the curious workers asked what was this strange looking porthole for – the man replied in a slow whispering voice, “it is for my fine feathered friends…for them to rest, hunt and fatten themselves before they make that epic journey to wherever they are going…” When the worker turned to him as if asking why. The man had merely replied, “You see, I know how it is when one is on the run…”
The man never slept beyond five. The 70 year old Hainanese man servant had laid out his masters pressed Khaki bush jacket with matching slacks along with mirror polished shoes in his walk in wardrobe at exact four forty five. On other days, a Khaki open neck short sleeve shirt along with trousers made from rough wearing cotton would be laid out. At five minutes to five, the tribal boy would return from the river bank bearing a razor sharp parang. The man servant inspected the edge, nodded to the boy and passed him a can of condense milk.
At precisely five. The dining table was laid out for breakfast. At one minute past five, the radio turned on automatically to the BBC world service. The man servant knew the ritual well. It was a strange voice from another world that he found strangely comforting. Only that from time to time, his master would strain himself to listen to this strange and foreign voice. As if it had the power to hold time in one breathe. In one word even – all the man servant knew was he found the rounded tones and ebb and flow pitch strangely melodious. Like a strange musical instrument that he had long grown accustomed too. At half past five, the driver brought the car to the front. At quarter to six, the tribesmen who guarded the man when he slept began to retreat into the preamble of the jungle. Though, the man servant had never seen them so much as once. He could always sense their presence. They were always nearby and never far away.
By six even the largish dog that had stood absolutely motionless to attention in front of the master bedroom door began to stir restlessly.
The man servant, boy, cooks, chambermaids, gardener, driver and dogs all waited – in the mansion located in the middle of jungle, the clock chimed six times. Yet there was no sign of the man. Only the sound of cogs and wheels from the grandfather clock turning rhythmically filled the silence just before the rise of dawn.
That night as the plantation mansion resonated deeply to the sound of sleep and murmurs of cicadas – the farmer was still wide awake. Somewhere between tucking in the daughter of the one million hectare landowner and deciding to spend the few remaining hours reading – he had decided instead to polish off the remaining half bottle of brandy that night all by himself in the verandah - there were times when he would often be seized by this inexplicable urge to simply drink, drink and drink. It was his habit in Africa. And even now he found it hard to break. And this was simply one of those nights.
By his sixth shot the farmer found himself recounting the events of the day in a fuzzy haze - thoughts ambled haphazardly in his alcohol soaked brained like a drunkard trying to walk a straight line - there was no discernable pattern to his thoughts – no structure, no form, no purpose, no regard even for any description that would suffice – it was as if that night he had simply allowed the wheel that guided his thoughts to turn which ever way the currents wanted to carry his thoughts. During his drunkard sojourn – he even toyed around with the idea that he may well be out of his depths; for a while he imagined himself powerless and rudderless and as purposeful as a flotsam floating in the infinity of the sea of hopes and dreams – at other times, the farmer would simply laugh to himself, as if he was suddenly reminded of some incident or joke that had suddenly being pushed to the forefront of his consciousness. Only for it to receed away like one of those dancers who suddenly falls back only for another to take his place in the square – in this endless dance of thoughts there was no point, purpose or even direction – only perhaps the notion that he wanted to get very drunk that night. But for the best part of that night as he sat outside the verandah and drank and drank; he simply peered into the velvety darkness of his plantation – like a man lost in his own thoughts.
By his seventh shot - he even considered it a good idea to concede defeat. To even reconcile himself with the idea that his designs had somehow become transparent to this woman who now slept in his room – and that all he should really do right now is get back into his car and drive back to where he whence came from….if he could only remember where he parked the car….along with where his car keys were…. after all now that the cat is out of the bag….the whole idea of the mythical lover was as dead as a rubber duckie….what else was there left to do? Except skip town like a traveling circus troupe…..or maybe roll up his sleeves and do some much needed damage control.
This woman had even managed to stroll right into his house as if she had always been a fixture here all along - he had seen how even his own servants had behaved. Had been mesmerized and hypnotized and spell bound and he concluded this feat could only be accomplished by someone who was probably as assured as himself. His equal even….perhaps even someone who even as accomplished…if not better than himself…but how could that be?…How could he have scaled it so wrong?……the who sat in the dark began to laugh at himself again….
After his eight shot he concluded the best thing to do the following morning was to sack everyone – everyone from the errand boy right up the seventy year old Hainanese man servant. Instead he would fill the whole house with only his trusted tribesmen. But as soon as that ridicolous thought congealed, it seemed almost to disappear immideately as if he realized, this would only raise more suspicion – then as if realizing his folly, he murmured to himself,
“No…I should do nothing and pretend as if all this was only to be expected…over reacting would only allow her to read my designs….yes…I must move stealthily and silently like a hunter.”
But hardly had he said those words, the farmer began to laugh again - it was a sardonic laugh that could really only emerge from a man who once believed everything was in his sphere of control only to suddenly realize that he really controlled nothing at all – that whatever he had was really only the illusion that he was in control; when infact along, she was the one who was really controlling it all - and with this new found realization; the man who sat that night in complete darkness concludd what transpired that day was simply a series of planned events that was as well executed as any of his designs – and soon as that idea took hold in his mind; the farmer experienced a sort of admiration for a thing that he seldom ever experienced. A new sense of appreciation even for the cunning manner in which this woman had been able to whirl herself completely and totally into his life – that all he could really do was to play the part he played that evening like a string puppet. And with these thoughts tracing through his mind, he began to laugh all to himself. A laugh that was mixed with his tears along with all his hopes and dreams….and somewhere in his floating world, he reached for the bottle….only to realize that the woman was now standing before him holding the bottle - he could not see her face – she was sihouletted against the after glow of the moonlight. But he liked the way the thin veiled material of her dress allowed him to see her shape – he liked it so much that his cock began to harden on a factor of a slumbering zero to at least a respectable eight and a half and probably a bit more in his drunkard state…who was she…it was after all such a long time since he touched anyone. So that night when the woman took a swig of the fine cognac from the neck and brought her warm sweet lips to his – all he could do was take in all in like a thirsty man – it taste sweet and clear – he liked the perfume and the touch of his flesh against her cool skin….who is she…..does it really matter, another voice echoed from somewhere in his head……
But even in his drunken state….the farmer realized, it was his nemesis…..it had to be…the daughter of the one million hectare landowner.the mythical lover…the real mythical lover. And with these thoughts he worked his magic as he slid his hands in between her legs.
October 9, 2012
That evening as the farmer dined with the daughter of the one million hectare landowner. He realized only too well there were certain time honored conventions that had always dictated the timeless ebb and flow of plantation life – it had after all been there long even before he was born - and though the farmer was a man who was accustomed to doing things his way. That night even he felt compelled to abide to these ancient plantation customs. Even he realized, he didn’t have anything resembling a choice as to how that evening should come to an end – it was after all well over ten – and as custom dictated, all guest would have to be accomodated. And that was really all there was to it.
After desert was served. The farmer’s Hainanese man servant had even taken the liberty of laying out fresh bed sheets and towels along with toiletries to prepare for the plantation ma’am to stay overnight in the master bedroom - that night before the 70 year old Hainanese man servant turned in – he had suddenly remembered the last protocol of receiving a guest in a plantation mansion.
A ritual known as the “last protocol.” Hardly had the thought sprung to his mind, the 70 year old man smacked his head and murmured under his breath, “how can I be so forgetful.”
That evening as the farmer and his lady guest were seated outside the verandah sipping brandy – the 70 year old Hainanese man servant ceremoniously brought the pistol that had been handed to him earlier in the day by the Sikh driver of the lady - he had placed it on a polished silver tray and when it was presented to the master of the house – the farmer realized that this was the last protocol – the moment, when the master of the house returns the firearm to it’s rightful owner. The farmer recognized the pistol instantly - it was a Walther PPK, handsomely finished off in a gold brushed patina, with oak leaves in relief complete with teeth white ivory handle inserts - decorated as a dainty ladies weapon to the untrained eye. Before handing it over, the farmer had briefly noticed the last two digits of the serial numbers. He could sense that there was something wrong with the weight – it seemed lighter – and recalled it had ended with eights, which the man knew to be the professional variant of the Walther PPK series - that was once manufactured in small secluded and highly secretive weapons factory in Ulm Germany – that held five instead of the standard seven rounds to save weight and minimize recoil on the first two shots – as two shots is really all it takes for a well trained assasin to finish off a target. A variant that even came with an stub nose barrel that accomodated a Brausch silencer - the preferred weapon used the execution arm of Mossad, the Kidon which affectionately referred to this side arm, as the weapon of silent death - that evening, as the farmer handed the assasin’s pistol to the woman he searched her eyes intently for any hidden agenda or any residue of thoughts that may point to why she felt the need to bring along such a pistol during her stay. But all he could make out was an unassuming woman who received it without hardly a word or expression. As if even she was oblivious to such detailing or even the history of this pistol which she promptly put into her bag - by now, even the farmer himself suspected he may have underestimated the daughter of the one million hectare landowner to such an extent that the woman before her was indeed a delightful mystery that he knew so little about - he even began to toy around with the notion that he may have been too presumptous in the way he had approached the whole business of trying to gain her confidence – and for the very first time, he began to feel the familiar sense of discomfort creeping into his consciousness - with these thoughts lingering somewhere in his head, the farmer leaned back into his chair and looked at the woman who sat opposite him. This time the farmer did not see her as just the daughter of the one million hectare landowner - she had after all successfully slitthered into his house like a Cobra that day. Hypnotized all his guards along with everyone else in his own household. Mesmerizing them so completely that she had somehow stepped into a place in this house that he himself did not realize existed – a place where she herself had clicked into place perfectly like a lego set – a place where she could do absolutely anything she liked while all he could do was to watch helplessly. He realized then, this benign woman who was now armed and dangerous and would be spending the night in his house that evening. And there was really nothing he could do about it - absolutely nothing and with these thoughts, the farmer smiled supremely as he offered her another glass of brandy.